Heart Rhythm Control During Sleep.

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    • Abstract:
      Heart rate (HR) changes during sleep were analyzed, with the aid of a minicomputer, for a group of 20 healthy subjects. In stages 1, 2, 3, and 4, HR decreased against a background of increasing respiratory arrhythmia. REM sleep was characterized by increased HR and decreased respiratory arrhythmia. HR changes during sleep were dependent on the subject's initial autonomic HR control level. The evidence from 3 healthy subjects, who were studied under baseline conditions, propranolol (a sympatholytic agent), atropine (a parasympathetic depressant), and propranolol plus atropine showed that the HR decrease during stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 is caused by augmented parasympathetic input. The HR increase during REM sleep is due to a reduction in parasympathetic control. The sympathetic input remains relatively constant throughout all stages of sleep, except for its decrease during stage 1. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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